Stray Foodie is a bi-monthly food review written by Michelin-starred chef, Frances Atkins. In 1997, Frances opened the Yorke Arms near Pateley Bridge, where she was the owner for 20 years. During her ownership, she held her Michelin-star status for 16 of those years.
Frances’ Meal: Starter: Garlic Prawns with Samphire £9.95 Main Course: Steak Pie £14.95 Glass of Picpoul: £4.30
The Grantham Arms is a grey painted building that stands on a roundabout as you enter Boroughbridge. I suspect it was once a charming coaching inn but now at the side of a very busy road – not the most salubrious positions. Its fake grass and fairy lights make a statement.
The welcome I received from the young man behind the bar, Sam, was exemplary. It was a busy bar with guests of all ages.
I was with a friend who is the head of a hospitality department at a university. A young lady called Jess showed us to our table and looked after our experience for the duration of the evening. There were brown leather chairs, square tables, candles and bric-a-brac throughout. I imagine in the evening it would be very atmospheric.
Jess was warm, friendly, with an extensive knowledge of the menu, which catered for all tastes.
To start with we shared Garlic Prawns with Samphire. The Samphire would have welcomed a little less heat.
She advised us that the Pies were a speciality and the thing to have. So, I had the steak pie which was well-made with good pastry and generously presented. I am not sure if the blue cheese in the gravy worked with such good ingredients; it might suit someone with a more robust palate. The cooking of the vegetables was excellent which is a rare achievement.
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The Chicken Supreme, which my friend ordered, was of grand proportions with a well-made sauce. I was assured it tasted good. However, I would have liked to have seen it looking more comfortable in the sauce with thinly sliced mushrooms, chopped chives and sliced to add a little elegance.
The choice of wines were very limited and they would have benefited from a wider selection of grape variety to balance with the dishes on offer.
The Dessert Menu looked tempting but unfortunately, we were too full. It looked interesting and was the sort of menu that meant no waste for the kitchen. Perhaps a seasonal weekly dessert might be a thought. A Syrup & Apple Sponge or similar nursery pudding for the winter the months might be a popular idea for their regulars.
The atmosphere was young and vibrant and made by the service staff. Such courtesy is always a pleasure to receive.
The kitchen, given suitable direction, has the makings of a successful brigade, although, I was disappointed to find the Head Chef was not on duty at the time of my visit, nor was any form of senior management.
If you are hungry the pricing is of very good value and you won’t be disappointed. I am sure it will increase in popularity as a neighbourhood restaurant. In these difficult times, it is a place to be valued.
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